NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Messengers offered 19 motions during the opening day of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in New Orleans June 19.
All but one were referred to SBC entities or ruled out of order.
A motion by Richard Tribble of Emmanuel Southern Baptist Church in Decatur, Ill., to prohibit messengers from using a platform microphone when debating motions or making nominations was defeated on a show of ballots June 20.
Tribble said during debate on his motion that requiring all speakers to use floor microphones would increase the fairness of convention deliberations.
“The implication comes that everything that’s said from the platform carries with it great authority and the implication that this is what the leaders want to present,” he said.
Stan Buckley, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, argued that the convention’s rules for debate and nominations were already fair. Requiring all speakers to use floor microphones would “waste the convention’s time,” he said, adding that nominations already could be made from a platform microphone.
“Think just a moment about the consequences if the convention were to adopt the Tribble motion,” Buckley said. “If a messenger were to offer an amendment to a resolution offered by the Resolutions Committee chairman during the resolutions report, the chairman would then have to leave the platform, run around to find somewhere an empty floor microphone and then wait for the president to find him before being able to give the Resolutions Committee’s response to the amendment.”
Motions referred to the Executive Committee included:
— that the EC “be instructed to schedule future annual meetings during the last week of June so as not to conflict with Father’s Day” and that it attempt to change the dates of annual meetings already scheduled that conflict with Father’s Day, submitted by Tribble.
— that SBC meetings be held every two years rather than annually, submitted by Daniel Palmer of Wake Cross Roads Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C.
— that the SBC bylaws be amended to require that nominating speeches for convention officers include at minimum the nominee’s name, the office for which he is being nominated, the name of his church and the percentage of undesignated receipts given by that church to the Cooperative Program, submitted by Tribble.
— that the convention “establish a process and curriculum for properly training and equipping” entity trustees “that is preliminary to and separate from the individual agencies’ processes of orientation,” submitted by David Atchison of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tenn.
— that the 2015 SBC annual meeting be moved to Memphis, Tenn., to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Cooperative Program, which was established in Memphis, submitted by Gary Griffis of New Church Memphis in Memphis, Tenn.
— that the EC develop a policy and procedures manual for convention officers, including procedures to investigate allegations of misconduct by officers and remove them from office if necessary, submitted by Tribble.
A motion by Brad Atkins of Powdersville First Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., that SBC seminaries consider allowing their portion of the CP Allocation Budget to be reduced from 21.92 percent to 21 percent and request that the EC allocate the remaining .92 percent to the International Mission Board was referred to the EC and all six seminaries.
A motion by Tim Overton of Halteman Village Baptist Church in Muncie, Ind., that LifeWay Christian Resources reconsider its decision to sell the 2011 New International Version of the Bible in its stores was referred to LifeWay. The motion asked trustees to allow Paige Patterson and Louis Markos to address trustees on the matter, and it said Patterson and Markos have agreed to speak.
A motion by Richard Sandberg of New Zion Baptist Church in Kentwood, La., that the convention ask the North American Mission Board “to reconsider their decision to scale back disaster relief funding” was referred to NAMB.
A motion by Channing Kilgore of South Whitwell Baptist Church in Whitwell, Tenn., that the convention establish a “historical research committee” to study the views of SBC founders “regarding predestination and election and how they understood these terms” was referred to the six seminaries.
The Committee on Order of Business considered a motion from the 2011 annual meeting calling for future meetings to include at least one evening session and reported that attendance data from the New Orleans meeting will “yield more feedback upon which to base plans for future annual meeting programs.”
Seven motions were ruled out of order by SBC president Bryant Wright, acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Order of Business. Among them:
— that the convention “seek God for mercy corporately” in light of the moral decline in America, submitted by Dan Biser of Zoar Baptist Church in Augusta, W.Va. Buckley explained that messengers had already adopted the convention’s agenda, “which includes time for prayer.”
— that the convention agree with Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, that statements he made regarding the Trayvon Martin killing were harmful and that the convention “publicly affirm the reprimands” of Land by ERLC trustees, submitted by Todd Littleton of Snow Hill Baptist Church in Tuttle, Okla. Littleton appealed the chair’s ruling, but messengers sustained the chair.
— that the convention ask its newly elected president to study imprecatory prayer in the Bible and report his findings at the 2013 annual meeting, submitted by Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, Calif.
— that the referral of a motion concerning biennial SBC meetings be reconsidered, submitted by Palmer.
— that salary packages of all SBC entity and state convention employees be disclosed to Southern Baptists and that annual salaries be capped at $150,000, submitted by Luke Johnson of Highland Baptist Church in Laurel, Miss.
— that the SBC president appoint a committee to audit NAMB’s “Mega-Focus Cities: San Diego” program, submitted by Ron Wilson of Wynnbrook Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga.
— that “no entity of the SBC be allowed to use the name Great Commission,” submitted by Steve Bailey of Earle (Ark.) Baptist Church.
— that the convention commend Billy Graham “for his continued burden for evangelism and his love for Jesus Christ” and pray for the success of his “My Hope with Billy Graham” outreach campaign, submitted by Jim Wood of Covenant Community Church in Sevierville, Tenn.
David Roach is a writer and pastor in Shelbyville, Ky.